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MODERN MOTHERHOOD

(Mother’s Day 2020)

Luke 1:26-38

Most of you are familiar with the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Well, on one Mother’s Day, Calvin is pictured making his mother a Mother’s Day card…

“Dear Mom. How do I love you? Let me count the ways: One … Number one ….. Hmm… Number one … Mm….”

Then, standing by his mother’s bed. “Hey, Mom, wake up! I made you a Mother’s Day card!” “My, how sweet of you!” she says.
“I did it all by myself. Go ahead and read it!”
She begins to read:

“I was going to buy a card with hearts of pink and red.
But then I thought I’d rather spend the money on me, instead.
It’s awfully hard to buy things when one’s allowance is so small. Ahem…
…So I guess you’re pretty lucky I got you anything at all.
Happy Mother’s Day to you.
There, I said it. Now I’m done.
So how ‘bout getting out of bed,
and cooking breakfast for your son?”

Signed, “Calvin.
“I’m deeply moved,” says his mother.
“Did you notice the part about my allowance?” he asks.

Well, some of you may feel like Calvin’s mother this morning, wondering if anybody’s going to say, “Thank you, Mom, for all the good stuff you do.” Being a mother is a tough job and we recognize and honor that today.

One Mother’s Day a “For Better or Worse” comic strip portrayed Michael’s mother tossing and turning on her bed, thinking about her role as a mother, asking herself: “Are we too tough on Michael? Are we not tough enough? Do we give in too often? Too seldom? Do we listen to what he has to say? Do we understand? Maybe I nag too much? Am I a good parent? Where are the answers? How does one know what to do?”

And the last frame shows Michael lying on his bed saying, “Trouble with grownups is … they think they know everything.”

 

 No, Michael, maybe not.

In fact, mothers recognize all too well that as they send their children off in the morning all kinds of things lie in wait to waylay them – things like drugs and gangs and alcohol and pornography. And they must be strong if they are going to overcome that.

In the past, our educational system encouraged development of Christian principles and attitudes. But in many schools today that is no longer true. Too often, children are being taught that there are no absolute standards of right and wrong. Anything goes, and everything is permissible, as long as it feels good.

So it’s difficult being a Christian mother today. But as hard as that may be, we need to realize that difficulties are not unique to our time. In every age Motherhood has had its share of difficulties.

I. THE DIFFICULTIES MARY FACED.

For example, let’s look at Mary, the mother of Jesus, and consider some of the difficulties she faced. First of all, she faced the difficulty of a tarnished reputation.

Mary was not yet married and she was pregnant. Of course, we know the rest of the story – that the child in her womb was of the Holy Spirit, and is the Son of God.

But do you think they believed that story in the little town of Nazareth? If you came from a small town you know that juicy gossip is always a hot item. And here’s this unmarried teenage girl expecting a child. Oh, how the gossips must have enjoyed talking about that!

In fact, 30 years later when Jesus was beginning His ministry, His enemies threw it in His face by saying, “Hey, we are not illegitimate children.” Evidently they weren’t above putting in what they thought was a knife and twisting it.

And on this Mother’s Day, you may not feel too comfortable. Maybe there are some things in your past that you’re not very proud of and you feel guilty – things you wish you could forget. Maybe there are some dark skeletons in your closet and you feel unworthy as a mother.
If so, let me remind you, God not only forgives, He also forgets. Encourage your children not to repeat the mistakes you made and help them realize that God is a God of mercy and grace. You have had a new beginning with Him, so encourage them to live lives that are worthy of His love.

Secondly, Mary experienced the difficulty of poverty.

The book of 2 Corinthians says that Jesus was rich and then He became poor for our sakes (8:9).

I tend to think that we don’t realize how poor Mary and Joseph were. When Jesus was brought to the Temple as a baby for the first time, Joseph and Mary offered two doves, the sacrifice of the very poorest in society.

Are you poor? If you have experienced the pressure of trying to buy the things your children want – the right tennis shoes, the right designer clothes, and all the other things they may want very much – then take the time to teach them that life does not consist of the abundance of things we possess. Teach them that there are other things much more important, eternal things we can’t see that will last forever and ever.

Jean Barron spent several years living in a little mobile home that was pretty dilapidated. She tells about raising her kids in that kind of environment. Then one day her son came home and announced that his best friend had run away from home.

Jean Barron said, “I looked at my child and said, `I don’t understand. He lives in such a nice house and seems to have everything any child could ever want. Why did he run away?’”
Her son answered, “Well, in their home they have a lot of environment, but not very much love. In our home we have lots of love, but not very much environment.”

Love is free. Well, maybe not free. But it doesn’t cost money. It just costs time and attention and emotion.

Thirdly, Mary faced the difficulty of people’s hatred for her child, even at His birth.

Matthew 2, verse 13, says that “…an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,’ the angel said. ‘Stay there until I tell you to return because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him’” (NLT).

It was true – when Jesus was born evil was set in motion to destroy Him. Well, the same thing happens when a child is born today, for Satan sees that child as God’s gift to you.

In fact, Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him” (NLT). Jesus said of Satan, “He was a murderer from the beginning…” (John 8:44).

And Satan knows that the quickest way to destroy your family is to attack your child who doesn’t have the maturity or power to deal with him.

To protect your children in their vulnerable years you need to monitor what they watch on TV and know what they’re doing on their computers and cell phones.

You may have to go to school once in a while and talk to teachers and administrators about what your children are being taught. You will need to practice discipline, and train them to respect adults and authority, and to grow up to be strong Christian men or women.

And one other difficulty Mary experienced was being a single mom.

Now we don’t know what happened to Joseph or when it happened. The Bible just doesn’t tell us. Most scholars assume that he must have died when Jesus was in His late teens or early twenties, since the last time he is mentioned in the Scriptures was when Jesus was 12 years old and in the Temple at Jerusalem. After that trip, Joseph is never mentioned again. So Mary became a single mom, raising Jesus and their other children by herself.

And I want to say to single moms today, our hats are off to you. You’re having to be both mom and dad to your kids. Mother’s Day began as a way to honor the sacrifices moms make for their children, and if you’re a single mother today, you understand this deeply. You may not have the luxury of sleeping in or receiving a traditional breakfast in bed to celebrate. And if you have little ones at home, it may feel like just another day of taking care of everyone but you.

Just remember this: The Lord sees and honors all your efforts to love your children well. The Bible reminds us that “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God” (Hebrews 4:13, NLT).

The care you give each day, those times you just don’t feel like getting out of bed that early or driving the Mom-taxi that far or explaining the math problem one more time…you do it anyway because that’s what Love does. May God bless you and your children for what you’re doing.

II. THE RESOURCES MARY HAD.

Mary faced many difficulties, but she also had some valuable resources. Her first resource was a strong commitment to doing God’s will.

It says in Luke 1:35 that the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God”(NLT).

Then in verse 38 Mary answered, “`I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.’ And then the angel left her” (NLT).

Mary knew that the baby in her womb was God’s only begotten Son, and that by giving birth to Jesus she was doing exactly what God commissioned her to do.

James Keller says, “Every mother has the breath-taking privilege of sharing with God in the creation of new life.”

And when God places a child or children in your arms, His will for you is to bring them up in a home where they will know God and His word, and Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Secondly, she had the blessing of Jesus being an obedient child.

Hebrews 4:15 says, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (NIV).

Mary had the wonderful blessing of a child who was obedient. The best thing you can give your mom on Mother’s Day is to be loving and obedient. It’s better than cards, better than flowers, better even than chocolate – just be a loving and obedient child!

That’s commanded in the Scriptures: “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do” (Ephesians 6:1, NLT).

And Luke 2:51 tells us that Jesus was obedient to them.

I like the story about the little boy who came into where his mom was and announced that he had two pieces of candy. She asked, “What are you going to do with them?” He answered, “I’m going to eat them.”

Thinking this was a great teaching opportunity, she said to him, “Don’t you think you ought to share the candy with your brother?” He answered, “I don’t have enough to share. So I’m going to eat them myself.”

Well, it was obvious that he needed to be taught about generosity. So she asked, “What do you think Jesus would do if He had two pieces?” He answered, “I think Jesus would make two more pieces of candy and give them to His brother.”

We don’t always do the right thing, do we? But it would be great, wouldn’t it, to have an obedient child?

Thirdly, she had a loving and supportive husband.

Now again, we know that Joseph was with her for at least 12 years, and probably a few years longer before he died. But however much time God allowed them to have together, it is obvious that Joseph was supportive of Mary.

The Bible says, “When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife” (Matthew 1:24, NLT).

So I’ve always imagined that Joseph was a caring, supportive man in Mary’s life, who was there for her whenever she needed him.

May I say to all the husbands and fathers here: The best thing you can give your wife, the mother of your children, today, is not flowers and chocolates and cards, but to be supportive of her, to pray for her, to encourage her, and always to be there for her.

I love the cartoon that shows a mother in her home. Her hair is in disarray, kids are everywhere, and the house is an absolute shambles. Then her husband comes home from work all neatly dressed in coat and tie, carrying his briefcase.

She takes one look at him, and He looks at her with a big question mark on his face. She tells him, “You come home every evening and ask what I do all day. Today I didn’t do it, and here it is!”

Billy Graham used to say that one of his favorite stories was of a husband who was not very attentive to his wife. But one day he started feeling guilty about that and decided to change. So on his way home from work he bought a box of candy and some flowers to surprise his wife.
He walks up to the door and rings the doorbell. She opens it, and there he stands, candy in one hand, flowers in the other, singing, “I love you truly, truly, Dear.”

Instantly she starts crying, big old tears just gushing out of her eyes. She sobs, “Oh, Harry! Everything went wrong today. We had a leak in the plumbing. The kids were terrible. The house is a wreck. And now you come home drunk!”

So be careful of how supportive you are. I mean, sometimes you may need to slip into it just a step at a time. But be a good, loving and supportive husband.

Finally, she had a close friend who encouraged her.

Luke 1:42 tells us that, “Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, ‘God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed’” (NLT).

If you remember the story, while Mary was expecting Jesus, she went to stay with Elizabeth, an older relative, who was also expecting a child. The baby that Elizabeth was expecting would grow u to be “John the Baptist” – a miracle birth as well. And the Bible tells us they spent about six months together – just encouraging one another.

“Encourage one another daily,” the Bible says, “as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13, NIV).

If we become discouraged, it becomes easy for sin to harden us, and the deceitfulness of sin to take over our lives. So we need to encourage the moms today, and help them realize they’re doing a job that no one else can do.

Mary was rewarded for her faithfulness as a mother. She was there to see Jesus resurrected from the dead. She was in the upper room when the 120 gathered to pray and the Holy Spirit came upon them. And she lived to see her other children accept Jesus as Messiah and Lord, too. And the God who rewarded her has promised to reward us, also.

Folks, Mother’s Day is kind of a mixed bag. I always come to it with a bit of fear and trembling. I’m never sure exactly how to handle it because I know that there are all kinds of different people who will be present.
If you have experienced the death of your mother, this could be a day of mourning and grieving as you remember her, and how much you miss her, and how much you would like to talk to her again.

If you’re childless, you may feel empty and perhaps unfilled.

If you had a poor relationship with your mother, you may feel a bit guilty, and wish somehow you could undo that. But it may be too late.

But on our journey through life nothing can compare with the impact made by our mothers. Their words, for good or for bad, are never fully forgotten, and the memory of their presence lasts a lifetime.

And here’s the good news: We may have imperfect families here, but one day we’ll have a perfect family in heaven – with God as our Father, and Jesus, our elder brother. We will live in a perfect environment with all His family who have gone on before.

So hang in there, Mothers! God’s love and power is available to you, and He will help you as you mother your children. God bless you on this very special day.

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, on a day like Mother’s Day there are so many different emotions that we bring to you. Some of us bring emotions of deep gratitude and joy for the mothers you have blessed us with, mothers who have

loved us,
cared for us,
walked with us
and taught us how to live well.

We praise you for such love shown to us through our moms and we pray for all those who are moms, that you would give them:

strength where they are weak,
wisdom where they are unsure,
patience with the many demands placed upon them, faith in your care for them and their families, and love—deep love—for those whom you have given them to nurture.

Others of us bring emotions of sadness and pain. Some of us are saddened because our relationship with our mom is not easy, or was not easy, or perhaps never existed at all.

Please meet us in our pain, heal our hearts where they are wounded, soften our hearts where they are hardened, and enable us to forgive and to love even those who have hurt us.

Others here today are saddened because they long to be moms, long to have children, and yet are not able to do so.

Father of mercies, give them comfort in their sadness, trust in you despite unfulfilled longings, and joy in knowing that you never stop loving us or having our best in mind.

We pray these things to you as our Father, who loved us before the world began, and will love us forevermore.

In Jesus’ name, amen!